One of the most successful players at today’s final is Frenchman Ludovic Lacay. Should he win it would be the latest in a line of successes for French poker, dating back more than a year, starting here in Sanremo.
Yorane Kerignard reached the final table in Season 8, and would reach a second in Deauville. Then last month he won his first WPT title in Malta. Weeks after Sanremo Nicolas Levi reached the first of his two Season 8 finals, in Prague. Madrid would be his second.
In Campione Fabrice Soulier finished third in the main event while French speaking (although admittedly Belgian) Davidi Kitai won EPT Berlin. A few days later Bernard Guigon and Lucille Cailly would come third and second in the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo®Casino EPT Grand Final.
The success wasn’t limited to the EPT as Gaelle Baumann demonstrated in the WSOP main event, finishing tenth. Roger Hairabedian did the same in the European version in Cannes, winning one event and falling just short of a second. Less than an hour ago he won the heads-up tournament in Sanremo.
After all that is it now Lacay’s turn to win gold?
“I don’t know if it’s my turn or not,” said Lacay. “I’ve been trying to be good again. I was one of the first French players on the European scene. I still try to improve and now I feel I’ve improved a lot. I don’t know if it’s my turn or not but I’m really glad to be here.”
Lacay at the feature table
Lacay certainly was among the first French players on the scene. Still only 27 he has amassed more than $2 million in prize money but remains among that pool of players that, while you assume he has won a major title, is still without. That said he continues to survive the rigours of one of the most competitive and unforgiving environments.
“I guess the key is just to keep working on your game, never take anything for granted,” he said. “It’s always hard to follow the game; it changes all of the time. You have to keep playing online, listen to advice and not have too much ego. I’ve tried to do that despite my huge ego! I’ve been working a lot these past few months, perhaps it’s paying off now.”
Regardless of how Lacay performs today French poker is in the ascendant, with regulation of the game in France bringing new players to the game. The poker boom, that profitable phenomenon that travels the world now hovers over France and Lacay sees the benefits everywhere.
Lacay in action this week
“We have a lot of players who love the game,” said Lacay. “We communicate about the game, they learn, they have access to lot of information.”
Lacay believes this point to be key. “The problem with French players is they don’t speak good English. So they don’t go on forums like Two Plus Two, they don’t get access to that great content. Now that content is available in French. So they all improve together and it creates Metagame, it creates dynamics and people are smart – they work on their game.”
The results are already obvious. It’s a great era for French poker. Lacay may well prove that himself in Sanremo today.
Keep an eye on the live tournament reporting from EPT Sanremo for all the news from the tournament floor.